SHILLONG: Movies inspiring real-life feats or vice versa may be passé. But if you were to go by the story of three women pugilists from Pakistan, Bollywood and boxing perhaps go hand in hand. According to the trio, they were inspired by world champion M C Mary Kom and the movie based on her starring Priyanka Chopra.
Khoushleem Bano, Rukhsana Parveen and Sofia Javed are here for the South Asian Games and said Mary Kom and the movie inspired them to take part in an international event for the first time. With this, the pugilists have made the unacceptable acceptable back home.
They had all battled conservative ideas and defied tradition, with the 2012 Olympic bronze winner playing a part in their progress. The girls are new to the sport and all have overcome similar hurdles. Rukhsana is from Multan and was part of the kabaddi team which won bronze at the World Cup in Punjab
in 2014. “We have a sporting culture, but people are conservative. I don’t get disheartened easily. I wish people were more open-minded,” said Rukhsana.
“I watch a lot of Bollywood films and like movies based on sports. It was Mary Kom’s movie which inspired us to take up boxing,” said Sofia, who is also a fan of Shahid Kapoor.
If success at the end of the fight against those frowning at women boxing has been a dream, one of them may go a step further. Khoushleem participates in the 51kg section and has a chance of fighting with her idol, if she clears the preliminary rounds starting on Saturday. “It’ll be great to face her,” she said.
Mary Kom has been touched by the news of the Pakistanis looking up to her as a role model. “It’s fantastic to know these girls have been influenced by the movie. If they want, I can let them train at my academy (in Manipur). They are welcome for any other assistance as well,” she said.